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The Orbit

Detention of Zamfara House leadership could be treason


It is true that the years under military dictatorships distorted the political development of Nigeria in the crucial postcolonial period. Barely six years after the end of colonialism, soldiers took over the role of political governance of Nigeria. By the way, next week will be exactly fifty-years since the brutal murder of General Aguiyi-Ironsi, Nigeria’s first military Head of state.

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Members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, at St Peter's Square Rome, during their visit to Pope Francis at theVatican.


Sam Omatseye’s piece in the Nation, “The Ghost of Biafra,” this past week adds to the growing discussion on the inevitable impact of the new secessionist movement in important ways. The kernel of that column is that Nigeria as a nation runs in vain from its obligation to effect closure on the Biafran experience. Omatseye, of course skirts certain issues, and fudges a few, including the important question he raises: “how could a people knowing that they did not have the arms still plunge to war against an overwhelming armed opponent?”

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File: National Assembly Complex

The Powers Of The National Assembly

The much vaunted but inefficient fight against corruption has become the basis for which the executive branch under the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari has embarked on the most extensive power grab in the history of civil rule in Nigeria. Well, Nigerians made the first mistake in 1999, when they did not back their legislators in checkmating President Obasanjo’s attempts to muscle the National Assembly. But let me proceed from where the “Orbit” ended last week by making the following observations. The greatest threat against democracy and the survival of the rule of law in Nigeria is an indolent and a badly informed citizenship. Most Nigerians have never bothered to read the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This includes, many Nigerians who are literate enough to absorb the letters of the constitution, and understand it.

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Ibrahim Magu, Acting Executive Chairman, EFCC

EFCC and freezing accounts

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) strikes yet again: this time, the target is Mr. Ayo Fayose, the irrepressible governor of Ekiti State. Reports say the commission has “frozen” his accounts. The EFCC is very fond of “freezing” the bank accounts and records of those whom it is just investigating before bringing them to court. Should the EFFC be allowed to do that by law? The recent move also throws up an important question: does the EFCC have the power to freeze the bank accounts of the governor of a state? In short, should the commission be allowed the power to compel banks to put a hold or garnish the accounts of its customers as a result of investigations, by just going secretly before a judge, and obtaining a warrant ex parte, which jeopardizes the rights of the accused and the integrity of the investigations?

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The “Efulefu Igbo” and the Manchurian complex

Richard Condon’s novel, The Manchurian Candidate (1959), now a classic of the cold-war, is a political thriller about a young American soldier, from a very prominent political family, who is recruited, brainwashed, and unleashed unto the American political landscape by the Communists to effect subterranean changes that would have ground-shifting impact on American politics and society.

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Jonathan Responds

Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria is by no means a great communicator. As a matter of fact he is very drab and uninspiring. This self-effacing, terribly inarticulate man is burdened by the need to clearly put his own achievement in context. One of Jonathan’s greatest problems is that his media team has been unable to put across the achievements of his government, and place his work in its proper context.

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An adversarial President, a discontented people

Truth be told, President Muhammadu Buhari does not have the easiest job in the world. But then again, no one who runs for the president of Nigeria ever imagines it to be easy. Even on its best days, Nigeria is a very complex and volatile mix ethnic and religious differences compounded by a heritage of political ideas and leadership that has more generally emphasized and intensified these differences rather than create a harmonious idea of shared nationhood. As I have always insisted, a nation like Nigeria, with its many “ancient kingdoms” and “caliphates” contending with the idea of a single organic nation, is a candidate for profound ruptures.

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President Buhari

Buhari’s Policy Summersaults

In 2012, the Federal government of Nigeria under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan announced plans to end the regime of fuel subsidies in Nigeria. It led to public protests and an organized action led by the political opposition to challenge Jonathan’s oil policy with regards to subsidies.

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Rescuing the bankrupt states

The Vanguard reported on Friday that the Federal government had suspended the at-source deductions from state allocations from loans obtained by these states and guaranteed by the Federal government of Nigeria. It is apparently a short-gun measure to stem the financial crisis in the states, and to enable them fulfill their payroll obligations and stabilize the economy. In principle this sounds good. But its implications are a little murky. Rescuing states from insolvency is an act of charity that breaks the law. As a matter of fact, it is an unfunded mandate. It is constitutionally a mandate that must be backed by the Legislature of the republic. Every action of government connected to the expenditure of federal funds must be covered in the finance act as enacted by the National Assembly.

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All Peoples Confusion (APC)

President Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, swept into office exactly a year ago on the powerful promise of change. Change that would turn Nigeria from an awkward, self-indulgent nation, to a serious, productive, prosperous, and just nation. It is nearly a year – in point of fact, just less than six weeks shy of a year exactly when President Buhari swore the oath of allegiance to govern as president and defend the constitution of the republic, and lead Nigeria, doing good by all as president. Change came to Nigeria, many claimed, with Buhari as president.

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*File photo: Policemen

The Security Question

On Wednesday, my friend and fellow old Umuahian, Chuks, came to dinner with his family at my home. He is a family doctor in Union, New Jersey, and has been vacationing with his family in Orlando for the Spring break. Our postprandial talk normally drifted to Nigeria, our “Ogbanje nation” and old homeland. Chuks has not visited Nigeria since his mother’s funeral some years ago, and it is not for lack of love, or interest, but from a deep phobia – a fear of getting mucked into the Nigerian criminal maelstrom of accidental deaths from robbery and kidnapping. It is a genuine fear. This fine doctor and gentleman is not alone.

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